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Just Be Still

Learning How to Unwind

Guy Hamilton and grandmotherWhen we were young, my brother and I spent much of our summers at my grandma and grandpa’s farm in Boswell, Indiana. Running around with our cousins in the country and being doted on by grandparents was typically much more appealing than being cooped up in the suburbs and getting assigned the perfunctory summer chores from our mom.

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Culinary Medicine

The Power of Nutrition

healthy food

Resident wellness is an important part of today's medical training. We at the Washington Hospital Family Medicine Residency have had the good fortune of having support from our administration in maintaining wellness of the residents in our program. With the help of the POMA Mental Health Task Force and the POMA foundation, we were granted funding to support our idea to create an event combining resident wellness with nutrition integrated with medicine, notably, culinary medicine, inspired by the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University. 

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Why Everyone Should Try Kickboxing

Why Everyone Should Try Kickboxing

female kickboxer Jab! Cross! Left body hook! Right front kick! Left side kick! Right roundhouse kick! Beads of sweat drip down my face as I finish Round Six. I am exhausted. The sense of accomplishment is palpable. Not only have I made it through one hour of high intensity exercise after a long day of work in the office, but I have learned a few valuable life lessons along the way.

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Have You Asked Yourself, "How Are You DOing?"

Understanding how nutrition affects, how you are DOing.

hamburger and a red and green appleHow are you DOing? Or, should I say, “How are you EATING?” During our medical training we spend hours learning about cardiac disease, pulmonary disease, blood disorders, diabetes and surgical emergencies, but relatively little about nutrition. Nutrition, unless properly balanced, has a negative impact on all organ systems!

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Don't Put Your Life on Hold

Mountain ClimbingOn my first day in the hospital as a new intern, I had the healthy amount of fear that most new DOs have. I anticipated that long hours and dedication to taking every opportunity to learn would leave very little time to spend with family, friends or for self-care. I thought I would be putting my personal life on pause during the next three years in order to focus on becoming the best clinician I could become. Starting a new hobby or interest didn’t even cross my mind. As a single person entering the rigorous life of residency, I also thought dating would be off the table for the foreseeable future.

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Finding Your "Happiness"

student laying head down behind books

The pre-clinical years of medical education leave students unfulfilled. It's a relentless obstacle course full of memorization, stress, and student loans; ignoring our higher calling to treat and connect with patients. The things that light us up and made us want to become physicians in the first place are traded for limited patient interaction, multiple choice exams, and spending hours sitting, reading and repeating until we all have upper-cross syndrome. We learn scores of physiology, pathology and clinical pearls, unsure of clinical correlations due to a lack of experience. In the meantime the things we love about medicine are put on pause and we are told to wait for it, all while the student loan interest accrues. It’s easy to see how students have become bogged down and frustrated before their careers even begin.

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A Physician's Primary Prevention

Do you know how YOU are DOing?

black stethoscopeWe all know that doctor who worked constantly, took little time for himself or herself, always seemed to be doing “okay”, until you hear he or she had suffered a serious health concern, or worse yet, sudden death. Occurrences like this lead one to ask, “Could that have been prevented?”

Primary prevention. It is what we osteopathic physicians do well. Practicing evidenced-based medicine, identifying risk factors for leading causes of death and partnering with patients to reduce their relative risks for disease, and identify disease in the earliest treatable stages are the cornerstones of wellness. But when was the last time YOU saw your own physician? When was your last check-up? Do you know your blood sugar level, cholesterol level, BMI? How well is you blood pressure controlled? Are your immunizations and screenings up to date?

The leading cause of death for American physicians are the same top ten leading causes of death in the general population. According to the CDC, heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, accidents, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease and suicide account for the majority of deaths. That list has not changed much in nearly seven decades (although tuberculosis was listed as number 7 in 1949). What has changed is our ability as medical professionals to identify risks and improve life expectancy (from 65 years for men and 70 years for women in 1949 to 76 years for men and 79 years for women in 2017).

Follow your own good medical advice; see your DOctor, Doctor! She’ll want to know how you are DOing!

How Are You DO-ing?

A Conversation on Osteopathic Physician Mental Health and Well-being

Mental Health Awareness RibbonDepression is defined as persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest in work or activities. In the medical profession, these feelings can be present in medical students, residents and practicing physicians. In a study recently conducted by the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP) and the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA), nearly 40 percent of medical student respondents admitted to feelings of depression and thoughts of suicide.

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Physician, Know Yourself

Are you adding to your own stress?

Words that cause stressIn our day-to-day lives as student physicians, residents, fellows and fully licensed practicing physicians, several things can add up to give us a less than pleasant day. Demanding patients, unexpected emergencies, backups in the waiting room, medication changes, pharmacy changes, and my favorite thing to dislike, the electronic health record, overwhelm us and add to our feelings of being stressed. Often we feel as if we are simply driftwood tossed randomly in a sea of regulations and compliance stipulations. Maybe not. How much do we actually add to the feeling of being stressed and under pressure?

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Saying No

It's OK to say no

Saying know on lined paper with red pencilAs physicians, we’re all familiar with the saying, “It takes 30 minutes to say no and 30 seconds to say yes.”  The unique demands of this profession – including the value of our time and patient satisfaction measures not always being what is best for the patient – sometimes cause us to fall into the trap of saying the easy yes when we should say the difficult no.

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Something To Look Forward To

Taking time for yourself

Lounge chairs next to a pool on the beachsideWith the demands of practicing medicine coupled with balancing personal responsibilities, how easy it is to get caught up in our obligations and what I call the “have-tos”? No wonder we feel ourselves needing a vacation from it all!

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